Infidelity, adultery and your bank account

Stowe Family Law|July 22nd 2014

During my recent visit to the US, I took a little time out to talk to a reporter from Fox News. She was writing a piece on the financial aspects of the biggest of all relationship bombs – infidelity. Specifically, she was interested in the financial clues that an unfaithful partner might unwittingly leave behind.

Unless they want to be caught (and there are certainly some who do), most philandering spouses take care to hide their tracks. They make the appropriate excuses, remove the incriminating evidence and try to ensure sufficient freedom from routine family demands for their illicit liaisons. But financial traces are both easy to leave and, and in an era of credit cards and online payments, all too easy to forget. The latter fact is either fortunate or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it!

Fox journalist Kathryn Buschman Vasel quoted both myself and Marie Ebersache, of US business consultancy CBIX. I told her something I have frequently had occasion to tell my clients – financial profligacy is a bad sign. Once an unfaithful spouse starts spending money on their paramour, you are almost certainly faced with a situation that has gone beyond a casual fling which your relationship might just survive.

Keep financial clues to be one alert for include, the article says:

*Higher mobile phone bills.

*Unexpected credit card charges that your partner claims are work- or expense account-related.

*Unexpected cash machine withdrawals.

*Sudden secrecy regarding online banking accounts.

There are others, of course. Once a spouse has gotten caught up in the deceit of an affair, and made that leap into spending money  – on hotels, gifts, trips away, the lists goes on – it can be very hard for them to stop. To go cold turkey, to stop the lies and stop frittering away the couple’s cash. Eventually, some become truly desperate I have found – racking up debts, takins out home equity loans or badgering friends and family for money.

It can be a very unedifying spectacle and when it all comes to light, as it inevitably will, either before or after the divorce or acrimonious breakup, their partner will be left feeling doubly betrayed.

But, while that is undeniable, I would also caution against prying into your partner’s finances without his knowledge and consent. Let the lawyers advise you first. The law about “self help” is strict in England and you want the sympathy of the court, not its approbation.

It’s true to say that the dividing line between sensible caution and paranoia can also be a thin one but instincts are often proved right. When things have gone that far however, suspicion inevitably corrodes the trust which lies at the heart of every successful relationship and it’s time to take a long hard look.

Read the full article here.

To hear more about the legal side of adultery and marriage, watch my advice video here.

Photo by ajalfaro via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence


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